Monday, 19 December 2011

Its nearly here !!!

.................................................and dont we just know it , I have a very over exited 6 year old asking me how many more sleeps mum .

I did want to post a lot more regularly but I have been very busy and my laptop is dying a very slow and painful death ( keeps switching its self off , the H has come off and the bottom is held on with tape ) .

We have finished all the food shopping apart from the veggies and more milk , the kids pressies are wrapped and "hidden" and now we are just playing the waiting game . We have been to our youngest's nativity had a drive out to look at all the xmas lights and tonight have been for our family xmas meal ( carefully chosen at the Handmade burger Co as we get 30% as hubby is a student ) so im feeling very festive and looking forward to the weekend and the best part is this year none of it will be hanging over us on credit cards .

I was very cheeky in asda I had 2 "£5 off a £40 shop vouchers" which they let me use on one transaction as I asked them I also had £6 in other vouchers I had saved so got £16 off then checked my recipt online the day after and got a voucher for £9.74 so altogether I got the grand total of £25.74 of FREE shopping , then hubby's friend who works in a slaughter house got us 2 huge gammon and 2 huge pork joints (also FREE) which we cut in half so 8 joints of meat on top of all our xmas food this will keep us going probably well into february .

We did have a bit of a spend in Primark at the weekend we bought the most Vile tacky xmas jumpers we could find and wore them tonight for our meal out and will wear them on xmas day and when we go visiting they are pretty gross but lots of fun .

Cumbrian - Thankyou very much for your comment Merry Christmas to you


Friday, 9 December 2011

Santa's been early

Today santa came early well not really but I bought us a new toy last week with some of our paypal £ a waffle maker for £15 from Comet I have wanted one for ages as I do buy waffles and I have to say I wasn't dissapointed with the results , I used the basic recipe that came in the manual and we got 3 batches ( 15 waffles ) and as you can see below there are only a few left .

Well I finished my wrist warmers and tried them out today and they were very warm and cosy so I have started a matching scarf which I will be cracking on with tonight . I have also got an xmas garland on the go so hopefully that will be finished tomorrow so I can show it off on here .

I have been buying extra store cupboard items to get a bit of a stockpile so when we are feeling the pinch in January we will be ok for basics things I have been stocking up on are sugar , flour , teabags , pasta , loo rolls , shampoo , toothpaste you get the drift but I think I am going to carry on getting a bit extra so when the summer hols come we will be able to have some very low spend months which will free up some cash for my new found love ..........................CAMPING ! .

We hadn't had a holiday for 4 years and really couldn't afford one so on a whim last xmas I bought a cheap 4 man dome tent , 4 sleeping bags , and a couple of disposable bbq's and booked a 3 night stay in North Yorkshire in April ( oh how deluded  I was ) and wrapped it as surprise family pressie .
So as the weekend approached I started packing my "bags for life" and hubby's workmate offered to lend us a big 8 man 3 roomed tent so we were thrilled , so off we went with high spirits and zero knowledge of camping 5 hours after arriving we finally had the tent up it had bits missing and was leaning to the left and had a 10 inch gap from ground to the bottom of the tent so say it was cold is an understatement it was a bit of a nightmare really from start to finish but we really enjoyed it despite the cold and lack of equipment so what did we do ?
We sold every available item we no longer wanted needed or used and with the princely sum of £620 we bought a brand new Outwell Nevada XL 6 man 3 roomed tent with porch and panoramic view windows ( can you tell how much I love the tent  , 2 air beds , sleeping bags , cooking stove , pantry , table and chairs , outdoor picnic table , outdoor chairs , cutlery , crockery , storage containers , bbq , lanterns , camping heater ( very important piece of kit ) and probably a few more items I cant think of right now but we were now prepared .
We had another 3 camping holidays this summer and are totally hooked I love it and so does hubby and the kids so after xmas has been and gone that will be the savings target to get as many weekends away as possible  for as little as possible .

Stay warm


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Oh the weather outside is frightful ! ......................................

And it really is it is sooooooooooooo cold today ive had the heating on all day and the house still feels cold , had a nice pottering day today done some washing ( which I dried infront of the radiators) ironed and put away tidied a few drawers out  had a dust and vac searched the net for supermarket discount vouchers ( we are going for some of our december shopping tonight ) then made a small mountain of prawn crackers for snacks for the next couple of days ( still not made a dent in the huge 2kg bag we got from the Chinese supermarket ) and made some soup .

This pic looks very pale as I had the flash on but I love this soup its so quick easy and delicious

1 med butternut squash
1med onion
2 carrots
1 parsnip
1chicken stock cube in 1 pint hot water
salt & pepper
1 tbsp paprika

I just chop all veg put in a big heavy bottomed pan with 2 tbsp olive oil and brown
add stock salt pepper and paprika bring to the boil reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins
blend and serve

I get 4 servings out of this recipe for about £1.20

 This huge bag only cost £3.95
This was one good handful ( I have only got small hands ) naughty but nice !!!

So after the shopping I plan to do some more knitting and watch Kirstys Handmade Christmas
Ahhhhhh Bliss! Stay warm


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Silly Season has arrived !!!

                                      Here is my 6 year old tree with poundland and asda decorations .

Well its finally here and im so glad we have decided not to go completly loopy and try and spend every available penny and to hell with the concequeces ( sadly I have done this in the past ) .
The tree is up the presents ( carefully chosen by the kids within a budget and even more carefully sourced by me for the best possible deals ) are wrapped and we need to go food shopping within a budget of £100 .

We have had a busy week or so ( I keep meaning to post as its very theraputic but have been very tired ) I have done lots of cleaning and ironing the kids "helped" to decorate the tree last week when they were off school due to the strike so I feel quite prepared for xmas this year , I have started on some home made pressies I am having a practice with a pair of wristwarmers for myself it took 1hour20mins last night to do one start to finish so can quickly knock these up for mum & sis with a nice matching scarf ( the wool incidently is some I have had years bought for 75p a ball so very cheap pressies ) .


Another thing I have started to do ( well been doing for over a year now ) is cook a little bit extra and make some home made ready meals .

Just one example a bit of leftover lasagne which hubby will warm up one night when he gets in late after college , I also love my slow cooker its such an easy way to cook good hearty meals just chuck in a load of meat and veggies leave while you work or just get on with your day and hey presto a meal for practically no effort .

A lovely lady called Sally who I caht to on netmums has just told me how to make butter so I will be having a go at that its seems a bit too easy but I will let you know how I get on with that one .

Yesterdays frugal bake was 2 " brownie cakes" its an adapted recipe from when I havent had the right ingredients but now I use it all the time .

Pre-heat oven to 180oc

Grease and line 2 , 8" cake tins

Ing -   200g marg
          100g milk chocolate ( value will do )
          200g sugar
          4 eggs
          1tsp vanilla extarct ( optional )
          180g S R Flour
          40g cocoa
          good pinch of salt  

1 - In a bowl melt marg and chocolate in microwave mix together .
2 - Stir in sugar , eggs and vanilla .
3 - Add flour , cocoa and salt .
4 - Mix well and divide between tins .
5 - Bake for 25-30 mins ( depending on oven ) the cakes should be still slightly soft in the centre .
6 - Cool on a rack then slice .

I have also added 50g of either white choc , crushed smarties , nuts or raisins .

                                           Heres the finished product they never last very long !

I have estimated that the 2 cakes cost roughly £2.20 to make and I get 16 good sized slices so less than 14p a slice .

Monday, 28 November 2011

Busy couple of days

Well I have had a very busy 2 days we have embarked on the pre-xmas blitz yesterday afternoon we ventured into the boys room and completly emptied it apart from furnature and sorted every toy box and nook and cranny some went to the recycling centre some to charity and some is sitting in a bag ready to be ebayed , today its been washing drying ironing accomponied by cleaning dusting vaccing and mopping and the house is looking pretty clean tidy and organised ( for how long is anybodys guess ) .

I was trying to put a few recipes on here but my pictures won't upload so will try again tomorrow .

My parents have decided against xmas gifts this year and instead grand kids are getting cash and couples are getting a £50 asda card ( I have budgeted another £50 )so my next big challenge is to get all of our xmas food for £100 that is for EVERYTHING !!! so every penny will count , I have a £5 off a £40 shop voucher so will be using that towards the "Big xmas shop" in the past I have spent as much as £200 and its pretty much all been rubbish snacky things that have gone in days so this year I want it to last at least 2 weeks , but I think I can rise to the challenge , so I will search out some bargains and share whatever I find .

My sewing basket is beckoning so I will sign off


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Gone in sixty seconds !

Well the chinese food went down a treat ! even the youngest who can be a fussy eater had a go at everything and really enjoyed it much better than a takeaway and a lot cheaper .

The curry is missing from this pic but I was pretty pleased for the amount we spent

I have learned to cook so many different dishes and bake over the past couple of years and once you have the basics ( baking tins , mixing bowls etc ) it really is a lot cheaper , tastes better and you know exactly what is in it so my mission this week is to bake lots and put recipes and pictures on here my lemon cake is a firm favourite along with Highlander Shortbread so I will start with those tomorrow .

I have already started to mentally make a few New Years Resolutions I make them every year but rarely stick to them last years main one was not to buy any NEWclothing for a year and I would say I have been about 80% successful I have become an avid charity shop fan and had a few good bargains from eBay and altogether have spent just over £100 on clothing since january but I want to do even better next year so I will buy a stock pile of pants and bras before january and try not to buy any clothing at all for 3 months then review my wardrobe for another 3 months and so-on .

Another huge change was buying my bike in 2009 I used to happily hop on a bus or ask hubby to run me here and there but not anymore come rain hail or shine im on my bike , its 5 miles each way to work and I do this 3 times a week and it really is a brilliant cellulite buster and it helped me lose nearly 2 stone and still helps to keep it off .


A bit about me .........................................

Like the title says this is just a bit about me , my name is Julie and I have been reading blogs and post regularly on netmums on one particular thread and its all about saving cash where ever we can .

I used to work full time but for the past 21 months I have worked part-time and it has been a bit of a shock to the system to say the least im very happily married to Gavin who I have been with for 18 years ,we have 2 sons Kaine 13 and Jude 6 I have muddled my way through the past year and a half but next year is going to be the year I take the bull by the horns and try and get to grips with Frugality once and for all kind of a new years resolution .

So far I have managed to cut our food bill down by more than half , I really think very carefully about every purchase and pay cash wherever possible and we ebay anything that is unwanted or no longer fits etc .

I know there are lots of blogs about saving money but I want this one to be about living frugally but still being fulfilled and happy .

This evening we are having a chinese banquet ( I use this term loosley but the kids think its a banquet so hey-ho so be it ) and it really didn't cost a lot we paid a visit to the Chinese Supermarket for most of it and wow it is so cheap granted its mainly bulk items but when you break it down it saves lots of £££ .

Tonights Menu

Rice ( store cupboard )
Noodles ( 95p for huge bag around 10 portions wil use 2 for tea )
Prawn crackers ( 2KG bag £3.95 these will last forever !!!)
Chinese platter (Asda whoopsie £1.20 spring rolls, wontons, prawn toast
Sweet & Sour  ( HM with veggies and sauce approx 40p )
Chicken Curry  ( 2 chicken breasts with sauce made from powder approx £2.20 )
Fortune cookies 15p each

So when you break it down for just over a fiver we have a lovely Chinese banquet which will be eaten by all with chopsticks .

I have also re-discovered the joys of  Crafts its so satisfying making something from scratch or up-cycling something thats a little worse for wear so will be adding lots of pics of all my crafty projects .

I hope you come back and read more


                                                   Here is a pic of me and hubby